In a World of Wonders, Only God Is Truly Glorious

I’ll never forget the day I visited the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland—breathtaking precipices towering over the vast, wild Atlantic. A chilly breeze carried mist off the ocean. The haunting Irish tunes from a nearby busker’s pennywhistle. Awesome. Unforgettable. A painting, photo, or video could never capture the moment. These words fail.

You’ve undoubtedly had your own “I’ll never forget the day” moments. We marvel at the world’s spectacles, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Grand Canyon to the Giant’s Causeway. From Uluru to Table Mountain. From Everest to the Amazon. David, the king of old, sang of the majesty of the natural realm in Psalm 19. He marveled at how creation pointed to its Creator and proclaimed his handiwork. When we experience an awe-inspiring panorama or constellation, it is a hint, spark, or glimpse of the glory of God.


A Divine Revelation

A few privileged souls have seen divine earthly splendours—and been eyewitnesses of God’s glory. Imagine the overwhelming wonder Peter, James, and John felt when they experienced the transfiguration (Lk 9:28–36). They had gone up the mountain to pray. Jesus was metamorphosed before their eyes. At the time, they were terrified. Dread filled them. They had a peek into the nature of the afterlife—Jesus discussing his imminent crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension with two super-prophets who had returned from life beyond death. Never in their wildest dreams did they expect to hear the voice of Yahweh (the LORD) and live.

Jesus’ face blazed like the sun. His clothes dazzled like lightning. It is no wonder they were awestruck. Decades later, John wrote of what they had seen on that mountain—the brilliant radiance surrounding God’s presence (John 1:14, 1 John 1)[1]. Peter marveled that they were witnesses of Jesus’ majesty (2 Pet 1:16–18). Towards the end of the first century, Jesus appeared in glory to the exiled aged John (Rev 1:13–16). The apostle’s prophetic vision chronicles how Christ will return in grandeur to judge the living and the dead.


Are You Amazed by the Glory of God?

When we consider these narratives, we are humbled by the glory of God. We are reminded that despite the beauty of the created realm, only the Lord is truly awesome. If these earthly phenomena inspire astonishment, the One who crafted them must be eminently glorious.

Are you amazed by the glorious magnificence and power of God? God can feel abstract to us. Mediating on God’s perfections, such as his glory, helps us worship and know him better. Our contemplations do not require us to empty our minds but to seek truth and consider it deeply. We see God’s attributes throughout the Scriptures. They are like facets of a diamond—his goodness, mercy, sovereignty, wisdom, immutability, eternal nature, and providence—each as stunning as the next. We can consider both his closeness (immanence) and the extent to which he is more significant and holy than us (transcendence). His glory and holiness arch over and envelope his other perfections.

As well as the brightness that surrounds God’s revelation of himself, glory also means ‘honour’ (Is 43:7). In rescuing us from darkness to light and from death to life, God calls us to reflect his moral excellence and worth (2 Cor 3:18; Mat 5:16). Whatever we do, all should be done for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). Whether you are an entertainer, electrician, embroiderer, evangelist, or engineer, you are called to do all that is placed before you each day for his honour. As the heavens declare the glory of God, so should we as his creatures.


The Glory of God in the New Creation

Once our faith becomes sight, we will move from having moments of awe to knowing our Creator fully. We will enter a life where each moment is as magnificent as the next, for we will know God and be at peace with him. The heavenly city will not need a sun or moon, for God’s glory will be its light (Rev 21:23). God’s holy presence and eternal purposes will be a source of overflowing joy. The redeemed will enjoy his honour, worth, and grandeur forever in the Celestial City. The most astonishing sunset, rainbow, eclipse, constellation, or other natural wonder will pale into insignificance. The redeemed in Christ will be trophies of grace. And the new earth will point to his preeminence.

Perhaps the next time you have an “I’ll never forget the day” moment, you can pause and reflect on the better, perfect, never-ending splendour of the One who measures the waters in the hollow of his hand (Is 40:12). Or, as C.S. Lewis wrote, if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. A forever world. A glorious country where one day is truly beautiful, and the next is utterly perfect.

[1] In the gospel according to John, he testified that the disciples had explicitly seen Jesus’ glory—one of these occassions was of course the transfiguration. In this apostle’s first letter, he appeals to his status as an eyewitness of the physical and historical reality of Jesus’ life as the basis of his authority in writing. The implication of his introduction is that the disciples were eyewitnesses of God incarnate, which would have been evidenced by, inter alia, Jesus’s miracles, transfiguration, and resurrection.